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Former jail project manager in wrongful termination suit

People are let go from their jobs for a variety of reasons. Those can include absenteeism, chronic tardiness, misconduct on the job and simple poor performance. However, in some cases, an employee might allege that he or she was the victim of a wrongful termination. This means that the employee was fired without just cause. In those cases, the person is within his or her legal rights under current law to file suit and attempt to get compensation or be reinstated into his or her former position.

That is exactly what happened with a former jail project manager who was employed by the county of Santa Barbara, California, for 11 years. Among other duties, he was the program/business leader for the North County Jail project. However, he was terminated from that position in July 2013.

Santa Barbara County officials gave two reasons for that termination. The first was that there were issues with his claim of being a professional engineer and using the corresponding designation "P.E.". The second was that allegedly lied during an internal investigation about his professional engineer status.

The man says that he was directed to use the "P.E." designation by his Santa Barbara County supervisors during his tenure as North County Jail project program/business leader. However, the county claimed that his use of the designation was a knowing and willful violation of the business and professions code. They based that claim on the fact that the man's professional engineer's license is from Washington State, not California.

On appeal, the Santa Barbara County Civil Services Commission ruled in the man's favor. The man was reinstated and will work for the General Services Department. He will also get back pay with benefits and interest.

Wrongful termination cases may help those who have been unfairly discharged from their positions. These can be complex cases, though, and the advice of an experienced employment law attorney can prove beneficial.

Source: Santa Maria Sun, "Ex-jail project manager sues county for alleged wrongful termination" Camillia Lanham, May. 07, 2014

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